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Are we trying too hard to live perfect lives?
Thomas Curran: Assistant professor, University of Bath
How many times have you checked your ‘likes’ or searched for positive feedback in your social media feed today? Perhaps you’re the kind of person who always strives to be perfect and feels deflated when you fail to live up to your own expectations. What about being judged by others for not achieving your full potential? Perfectionism, says Dr. Thomas Curran, is “everyone’s perfect flaw.” Dr. Curran, an assistant professor in the Department for Health at the University of Bath, studies the personality characteristic of perfectionism, how it develops, and its impact on mental health. If we all relaxed a bit or stopped being hard on ourselves, would our lives be better? In this LLAMA podcast interview , recorded at TEDMED, Dr. Curran explains why he believes perfectionism can be harmful and the impact, he says, social media is having on our relationships and self-worth.
NOTES & QUOTES
In this interview we cover:
- What does perfectionism mean in the modern world?
“It’s the like the emblem of the successful.”
- Why pursuing perfectionism, in today’s culture, is potentially beneficial.
- When does perfectionism begin to be harmful.
- What are the three core elements that make up perfectionism?
- What are “helicopter parents” and how does their behavior affect their children?
- Are young people becoming more perfectionistic?
“Once people have an unrelenting desire for perfection, to somehow heal or repair what they consider to be a flawed self, then perfectionism becomes very problematic.”
- How did Dr. Curran gather and analyse data for a large study into perfectionism?
- What is the correlation between depression and perfectionism?
- How are fundamental changes in society – such as the use of technology – affecting the pressures on young people?
- Why is life today sometimes more about the appearance of perfection than reality?
“It can be a very, very negative personality trait. Once it becomes engrained and once that cycle of self defeat becomes difficult to escape.”
- Why do we neglect some things in life that could bring us success and happiness?
- Social relationships and why they matter.